Bill Lazor was asked about play-action, but he remained fixated on the Bears’ struggling passing game.
“The ability to run the ball statistically has almost zero to do with the effectiveness of play-action pass,” the Bears’ offensive coordinator said. “Teams that don’t run the ball still are effective in play-action pass.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s because Chargers head coach Brandon Staley gave a similar explanation that went viral a few weeks ago. And it is true — play-action can be effective even without a good running game.
But the Bears do have a good running game. They currently rank sixth in the NFL in rushing. And whether it’s play-action or any other element of the passing game, an established running game should help take the pressure off the quarterback. That’s what Staley went on to explain in his viral video.
That hasn’t been the case for Justin Fields and the Bears. Despite a good rushing attack, they rank dead last in the NFL in passing.
“We’ve got to be better in almost every single aspect of the passing game. I mean, our details in pass protection, our details in route running, our details in the decision-making and the throwing at quarterback and then putting it all together. It’s hard,” Lazor said.
The offensive coordinator didn’t even need to look at the stats. He knows what they are.
“I’m assuming we’re still 32nd in sacks per pass attempt, 32nd in passing yards per game, 32nd in passing yards per attempt. I mean, so, to stand up and say there’s a bright spot would be pretty ridiculous I’d think,” he said.
Yes, it would be ridiculous, so credit Lazor for the awareness there.
To get back to the crux of the question though, why is the passing game so bad when the running game is actually pretty good? As a whole, the offense ranks last in yards/play at 4.35.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the run game. I think it has to do with — we have to be better with the details of the pass game, fitting it together, making the plays when they’re available, “ Lazor said. “And when I say making the plays, I don’t just mean jumping up and catching the ball, I mean, blocking the person we’re supposed to block, being together with how we’re going to block it, the timing of the quarterback matching the timing of the firmness of protection, matching the timing of the routes. When you’re 32nd, we could spend a lot of time talking about this.”
It hasn’t been good. At least the offensive coordinator isn’t trying to sugarcoat it.